No. 3 Kansas (11-0; 0-0) took its show on the road to Berkeley, Calif., Wednesday for a first true road test against the Cal Golden Bears (6-5; 0-0). Marcus Morris was ejected, but Josh Selby and Co., were able to rally for the important road victory, giving KU momentum heading into the winter break. Kansas is now 4-0 against Pac 10 teams this season.
In its first real road test of the year, the one fear of most Kansas fans was whether the low post players such as Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, and Thomas Robinson, would be able to stay away from foul trouble and allow the Jayhawks to control the paint.
Little did they know the teams' top overall offensive player, Marcus Morris, would be ejected from the game in the first half for a flagrant foul, and sophomore Robinson would add to his foul issues with a technical.
The personal fouls added to the sloppy play and basically summed up the 78-63 victory led by 21 points and 10 rebounds from Markieff Morris, who didn't start but logged 31 minutes, followed by 18 points for Josh Selby off the bench, and 18 points from starting guard Tyrel Reed.
Outside of those three, the next closet scorer for Kansas was the ejected Marcus Morris with 8 points in 12 minutes of play.
A normally balanced offensive attack from KU was very much lopsided.
It appeared Cal was willing to slow the game down and make it a grind it out contest loaded with fouls and long possessions on both ends of the court. The Golden Bears were obviously fired up to have such a highly ranked opponent in their gym, but the Kansas players didn't make the situation any less intense with their own high level trash talk and intimidation tactics.
The game turned chippy halfway through the first half, around the time Marcus Morris was ejected for what replays showed as a blatant elbow to the face of Cal forward Harper Kamp.
During a scrum for a loose ball, Cal guard Jorge Gutierrez and KU's Robinson hooked up in a wrestling match that ended up with two technical fouls. KU's Brady Morningstar was later called for a technical after having a war of words with several Cal players.
In all, the Jayhawks, as well as the Golden Bears, failed to show either team could control its emotions enough to refrain from getting the officials involved, luckily for Kansas, they were able to use their talent and depth to overcome the sloppiness and take home another win.
The emotion of the game controlled the pace throughout, eventually landing in the hands of the Jayhawks, who seemed to rally better than the Golden Bears, taking advantage of their size and athleticism in the low post, as well as an excellent performance on the perimeter from Reed and Selby.
The Jayhawks hit 45-percent from the field and held Cal to just 35-percent. Thanks to Selby and Reed, KU also hit 7-of-19 three-point attempts. The striking stat line is the uncharacteristic 15 assists to 14 turnovers, a margin not nearly the average of what KU usually put out.
Cal had just 12 assists to 17 turnovers. Gutierrez led the Bears with 15 points.
The Kansas win also kept Cal coach Mike Montgomery from inking his 600th career victory in 29 years of coaching.